No adjectives are needed: Totti himself is the adjective now -- the most pure expression of a bandiera left around the peninsula (a feat shared only with Inter's Javier Zanetti). Watching Totti cannot be underestimated; it must be thoroughly enjoyed, as time will soon catch up to the legend the way time does with all mortals. Tonight, the focus is not on his age, but his record.
With his penalty, narrowly fired in under Sebastien Frey's right hand, Totti reached 225 goals in Serie A, tying him for the second-most goals in league history.
Let that sink in.
- Totti ties for second most goals in Serie A
- Match report: Roma 3-1 Genoa
His celebration with Pablo Osvaldo revealed that the penalty row from earlier this year has now been put aside. It was most fitting that Totti himself rifled Roma to an early lead, after a soft but deserved penalty when Daniele De Rossi and Cesare Bovo collided knees in the box.
Until that point, Roma were playing quite well. Vasilis Torosidis in particular threw forth a number of good crosses that were just beyond the reach of Osvaldo.
After the penalty, it was all Genoa. Aurelio Andreazzoli's men switched off, leading to a massive succession of corners. The visitors' possession and pressing paid off as Marco Borriello won a penalty himself after a poor Nicolas Burdisso tackle in the box. The former Romanista made no mistake, fooling Maarten Stekelenburg to send the sides level into the dressing rooms.
Andreazzoli must have said something profound during the interval because Roma came out a much stronger side. Alessio Romagnoli marked his first Roma start with a goal (which topped off a relatively good performance from the primavera player), and Simone Perrotta put the result beyond doubt with mere minutes to go.
Totti provided the assist for the final goal, fittingly.
Not all went well. Miralem Pjanic went off injured after he appeared to hurt his ankle running. De Rossi and Burdisso didn't have stellar matches. Federico Balzaretti continued his terrible streak of crosses, completely wasting one promising counter entirely. Finally, Osvaldo looked isolated up front and somewhat shorn of confidence.
The positives however far outweigh the negatives. Stekelenburg had a very good game in net; Erik Lamela was instrumental in setting up the corner that led to Romagnoli's goal; a poor first half was corrected in the second, illustrating mental fortitude often lacking this season. Winning when two of the side’s senior players aren't having great matches is a positive, suggesting there's only room for improvement.
To do that all without the side's two starting center backs and most creative player going off injured less than halfway into the first match? It's nothing short of something worth celebrating.
Andreazzoli has put together his third successive victory to push Roma to seventh, just two points behind Fiorentina in fifth, four behind Inter and Lazio and five behind Milan in third. The race for the European spots has officially begun.
Next week away to Udinese will be a much tougher test. For now, however, the focus should be on a three game winning streak, the team sharing the scoring burden and a new primavera player marking a good debut.
And the legend himself: Francesco Totti.